B.C. election candidates respond to call to end deadly health inequality faced by individuals with intellectual disabilities

Our challenge to B.C.'s election candidates

Candidates in the 2020 B.C. election have been responding to Special Olympics BC’s call to end the deadly health inequality faced by individuals with intellectual disabilities.

People with intellectual disabilities have been severely marginalised, facing alarming health outcomes their whole lives. Now more than ever, with the added challenges of COVID-19, this must end. It is time for B.C.’s elected officials to step forward and create essential and lasting change.

We issued a series of questions to all candidates, with an October 9 deadline to reply. Please click here to view the full responses from the NDP and Liberal parties, and responses from individual candidates. 

The BC NDP replied that they remain committed to improving the health conditions and outcomes of British Columbians with intellectual disabilities, and should the BC NDP be re-elected as the next government, they would sit down with Special Olympics BC to discuss our proposals in more detail. 

A BC Liberal government and elected BC Liberal candidates will commit to: changing the deadly and unacceptable health conditions faced by individuals with intellectual disabilities; engaging individuals with intellectual disabilities and their supporters in the policy-making process on all issues that impact their health and wellbeing; ensuring the Ministry of Health under a BC Liberal government prioritizes improving health outcomes and quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities; creating a government task force to improving the health of people with intellectual disabilities; and to working with the task force to determine necessary measures to ensure people with intellectual disabilities do not face barriers to equality in health living or in their everyday lives. 

Several BC Green Party members made commitments to end the health inequality faced by individuals with intellectual disabilities, including Party Leader Sonia Furstenau. 

“We appreciate the attention that candidates and parties have given to this important issue. We will be following up, and we look forward to working with everyone in order to help create essential and lasting change,” Special Olympics BC President & CEO Dan Howe said. 

“We know the wider population cares about this issue. When we present the facts we do know, people are shocked and appalled. Many citizens have joined Special Olympics BC’s call by challenging their candidates to end the suffering of their neighbours with intellectual disabilities. We thank everyone who has helped put this critical issue on the radar.” 

All British Columbians can help by following up with their local candidates, and holding them to their commitments when in office. We need everyone's support to help make sure those running for election will work to end the unacceptable health outcomes for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Watch the call of Special Olympics BC athlete Paige Norton and her mother Donna Bilous, SOBC Leadership Council Chair and award-winning coach